The later it gets at night the more I want to stay up and write something. It seems like some sort of paradox or something. I don't get it. But it's almost the Fourth fo July here and I've never written/drawn anything for it so…

Inferno in the Sky

The Fourth of July.

To someone so young, it really didn't make all that much sense. To someone so young, it was noise, and smiles, and music, and food, and games. To someone so young, it was a time of fun and celebration and the enjoyment of youth.

The Fourth of July.

There had been a parade and he'd liked that. He'd laughed and scrambled with his best friend against the other child, fighting for the candy that fell to the street. There had been carnival rides and cotton candy and a mess down the front of his shirt that had made his mother and father smile and shake their heads.

The Fourth of July.

Seven year old Kaz Kalinkas didn't know what the Fourth of July meant. He just knew it was a day of fun.

Now he, his mother and father, and his best friend, the slightly-taller-seven-year-old Tom Majors, were in a large field surrounded by trees. His parents had stretched out a thick blanket and set down a picnic basket they'd brought from the car. Tom's mother and father were out of town and the Kalinkas' had been more than happy to keep an eye on the Majors' young boy.

Tom and Kaz chased each other around in the grass, laughing and tackling one another. Their knees were already scrapped and stained green and Kaz had a twig stuck in his scruffy red hair. His father called them over and they raced one another back, falling about with laughter on top of the blanket when they reached their destination.

"Here you go boys," Nathanial Kalinkas said, handing each other them a stick, "Now hold still. Watch me work some magic!" He held a lighter up to Kaz's stick, "Alakazam!" Sparks shot into the night, bright yellow and white hot. Kaz yelped in astonishment and danced on the spot, startled by the sudden out burst of light but too entranced to let go.

"Me! Me!" Young Tom urged, poking his stick in Nathaniel's direction, "I want magic too!"

"Alright, Tom, alright. Hold still. Alakazm!"

Tom yipped and raced around and around the blanket, waving the Sparkler in the air and tracing spitting sparks through the darkening night. Kaz followed after him, mimicking his best friend, hooting and calling. There was a fizzing hiss and both Sparklers went out.

"Aaawwwww…" The two boys visibly deflated. Marietta Kalinkas smiled and took the two burnt out Sparklers away. Nathaniel replaced them and lit them. The boys took off around the blanket once more, shouting as they ran.

After two more rounds of Sparklers, the two seven year olds were finally tuckered out enough to sit between the two adults on the blanket, contentedly eating the majority of the candy they'd gathered from the parade.

Across the field there was a light crack and then a line of sparks shot into the air only to explode in a burst of red light with a sound like far away thunder. Kaz jumped a foot in the air and grabbed his father's arm, eyes wide as another blaze of light was reflected in his glasses.

"Fire!" Tom called, pointing excitedly as a gold and purple bunch of sparks twirled into a tight spiral and fizzled out, "The stars are explodin'! Boom!" He cried as another burst of light lit up the night.

Kaz hung off his father; one hand gripping the sleeve of Nathaniel's jacket and the other clasped over his ear; and screwed his eyes shut, whimpering.

"It's alight, Kazdan," Marietta said soothingly, reaching past the excited Tom to pat Kaz's disheveled red hair, "They're fireworks. They're very beautiful, look. People shoot them into the sky to celebrate special events. Come on, Kaz, honey, look. They're not going to hurt you."

Kaz cracked his eyes open a little bit and peered up at the sky. Another brilliant burst of golden light lit up his features and then a booming crack made him jump and cover his ears.

Marietta leaned over, picked him up off the blanket, and set him on her lap, "If I cover your ears for you, will you watch the fireworks?" Kaz nodded and looked back up at the black stretch above them. Marietta placed her hands on either side of her son's head, aiming a smile at Nathaniel who shook his head and smiled back.

"Boom! Boom!" Tom was shouting, jumping up and down on the spot and waving his arms in the air, "Stars explodin'! Stars explodin'!"

"Thomas, sit down." Nathaniel said gently, wrapping an arm around the boy's waist and pulling him back down to sit beside him on the blanket, "The stars aren't exploding, Tom. Those are fireworks. It's to celebrate the Fourth of July—Independence Day."

"They're pretty." Kaz said. He had his hands curled around his mother's wrists as he lay stretched out on her lap, "Where do they go when they disappear?"

Marietta smiled and Nathaniel chuckled, "They're just sparks of color, Kazdan. They're like the Sparklers; they don't last forever."

"Noffin' lasts forever…" Kaz muttered sleepily, "'Cept Sniggers…"

"Snickers." Nathaniel corrected automatically, shaking his head, "Even seven year olds are being affected by TV commercials. What's this world coming to?"

"Where's the fireworks?" Tom asked, for there hadn't been any intense bursts of colored light in the sky for several minutes now.

"Looks like they're over." Marietta said, "Come on, Kaz, time to go? Kaz?" She sighed, "Looks like he's gone and worn himself out; he's sleeping." He picked him and held him in her arms as she got to her feet, "Nate, can you gather up everything while I take the boys back to the car?"

"Of course," The man smiled and started folding up the blanket, "Tom, go with Mari."

The little Majors boy yawned loudly and stumbled after Marietta, rubbing his eyes. After she'd securely strapped her sleeping son into the car, Marietta picked up Tom and started buckling him in as well.

"'M not sleepy…" Tom muttered, eyelids dropping, "Jus' restin' my eyes…"

"Of course, Tom." Marietta climbed into the passenger seat and kissed Nathaniel on the cheek as he took his place behind the wheel.

"I think they had fun." He said, starting the engine and pulling out onto the road. The headlights lit up the pavement and tell trees arching overhead like an arch made of thin blades of dark emerald and topaz.

"So do I." Marietta replied softly. She glanced into the seat behind her and saw both boys fast asleep, breathing deeply. She smiled. Youth was so sweet.

-Nine Years Later-

"Are you sure Najarin won't care?" Kaz asked as he followed Tom, Sarah, and Peyton to the edge of Lake Ken-i-po.

"Nah, he won't mind. It's not like we're launching them at his castle or anything." Tom replied reassuringly, setting his bulging backpack down on the shore, "Go clear a spot where we can set up, will you? Peyton, give me a hand over here."

Kaz muttered something unintelligible under his breath but started yanking tall grass out of the ground and carelessly throwing it aside. Sarah stepped up beside him and started helping and soon they had a decent sized plot cleaned up to lay down the thick blanket Kaz had brought along.

Peyton flopped down and delved into his own backpack, hauling out a six pack of cherry soda. He passed them around and there was a series of hisses and pops as the cans were opened. Kaz crossed his legs and took a huge gulp of soda as Tom came running back through the light mist and hurriedly sat down between his best friend and Sarah.

There was a few seconds of silence and then a crack and a high keening noise as a small burst of light shot into the air and faded away. Another followed and then two more went up. The sparks of colors looked eerie and beautiful in the dark, misted night; refracting through the tiny water droplets in the air and glittering off the surface of the lake before them.

"They're on timed fuses." Tom was saying as they watched another blaze of red dazzle against the star-dusted velvet above them, "My dad taught me how to do that. Cool, huh?"

"Way, way, awesome!" Peyton murmured with a grin.

There was an unearthly scream and a fountain of golden sparks erupted into the, seeming to come from the water itself. The four teenagers cheered and laughed. The sparks shot up higher and higher and then collapsed into themselves. There was a brief silence and then a streak of white frothed into the sky and exploded into a billion spiraling points of yellow light that winked out like fireflies.

"Well, what sort of fiasco is this?" Came a deep voice and they all looked around behind them as another flare of light went up into the night.

"Opps." Kaz muttered over the lip of his soda can, "We've been caught."

"Sorry?" Sarah said with a shrug, "We needed a quiet place to celebrate the Fourth of July."

"Indeed…" Najarin said smoothly, raising an eyebrow as he watched a spiral of red and gold vanish into the darkness.

"Wanna watch?" Tom asked, blue eyes flickering back to the fireworks as a purple blaze fizzed into the night.

"How about I show you some real fireworks." Najarin remained floating a few feet behind them and raised his hands, aiming his fingertips towards the water of Lake Ken-i-po. The end of his staff glowed with a soft, blue light.

A great phoenix made of red and orange and yellow sparks exploded out of the water and launched itself into the sky with a sound ten times louder than one of those enormous Screamers. Peyton whooped and hollered and Kaz pumped fist in the air with a wild cry of enthusiasm.

"Incredible!" Tom shouted above the noise and Sarah gave a hearty yell of agreement.

The phoenix looped a loop twice and on a third time a round in wrapped into a glowing ball of brilliant vermillion that went off with a blast like a cannon and shot a swooping waterfall of crimson and faded into the most astounding blue. Sparks fizzled the cool air, shimmering as they twisted into a dance like petals blown on a breeze. Then, they all converged into a single white pinprick. The white dot, too large to be a star, burst into cascade of white, gold, violet, emerald, and pink fireworks that burst apart and rained down to dance upon the surface of the lake.

"It's beautiful…" Sarah whispered in awe, the colors reflecting in her jade eyes as she watched the spectacle.

"Like fairies or something…" Peyton added in equally hushed tones.

"Amazing…totally…amazing…" Tom murmured, a small smile twisting the corners of his lips as he watched.

Kaz could only shake his head, breath-taken and speechless.

The tiny sparks of light eventually flickered out and vanished beneath the inky-black surface of Lake Ken-i-po. The water was smooth and undisturbed. The night was silent. The four friends sat gathering their wits about them again, grinning.

"Thanks a ton, Najarin, that was—Najarin?" Tom stopped mid-sentence for when he'd turned around, the OverWorld Muge…was gone.

-Lake Ken-i-po…-

Najarin watched from the window of his castle as the four young humans started gathering their things; talking, laughing, and gesturing all the while. He couldn't help but smile to himself.

It had been some time since he'd had that kind of fun.

He had to admit, entertaining those four had been quite amusing. The last time he had done something like that had been when Maxxor was a mere tot. That was a long time ago.

"Fourth…of July…" The old Muge murmured to himself, "Hmmmm…" There was a brief gleam of blue-white from the shore of the lake that caught his eye. The players had gone.

Perhaps they will return next year. He caught himself thinking.

Then he smiled.

Friends weren't necessarily the people one spent the most time with, but rather the people one shared the most memories with.

How is it that I can write a good beginning but Heaven forbid I ever write a good ending that doesn't sound the least bit corny? Ah well, crap happens.

Still, I like this. Cute, sweet, and friendshipy. That's not even a word is it? Who cares. Now it is. I really don't have much to say here. I finished this on the 4th of July and it probably won't be posted until, say, August. (shrugs) Who knows.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it, and please leave a review! Byes!